Ruskin Museum Collection

The new Bluebird Wing at The Ruskin Museum in Coniston is a truly wonderful place. “Am I biased? Well, yes I am!” writes Gina.

“The museum is great on two fronts: firstly it’s the natural place to have a permanent tribute to my father and his final record attempt on Coniston Water in Cumbria and secondly, it’s great because it’s run by a dedicated team of volunteers.

Under the direction of Vicky Slowe, Jeff Carroll, Tracey Hodgson and the other trustees, The Ruskin Museum has expanded to embrace all things Donald Campbell. As you might imagine from its name, the museum started life to pay homage to local artist and influential thinker, John Ruskin. And indeed it houses an art collection of Ruskin’s beautiful works alongside other artefacts. Vicky, an Art Historian herself, may not have intended becoming a Campbell expert when she first applied to curate the John Ruskin Collection…

Local people raise money

However, it would be hard for my family to find a more dedicated supporter. Not only has Vicky and her team gone cap in hand twice to The National Lottery Board for funding. (And twice been turned away.) But Vicky, the local council and loyal Consiton residents, have raised the money themselves to design and build the new Bluebird Wing.

Why, you might ask, was national funding not forthcoming? To the minds of my family and friends alike, Coniston deserves a museum of national status to remember my father Donald. Thanks to local efforts alone, that’s now what we’ve got. So heartfelt gratitude to all who donated to build the new extension.

And what a remarkable job the designer has done. Light, bright and spacious, the new wing houses the Campbell collection in hand-crafted cabinets with metal rivets, there are hand-forged seats (to mirror elements of K7’s design) and a huge A/V display to present film footage.

It’s a fantastic resource for Campbell Bluebird enthusiasts, schoolchildren, English Lake District visitors and fans of British sporting achievements. I hope you will visit and enjoy the museum as much as I do. There are regular events held, so perhaps I’ll see you at one of these soon?”


Here’s a quick peek inside the new Bluebird Wing:

Images courtesy of Dawn Sempill and David Walton

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